How many Heads of States do you think have visited China this year? The answer: just two and one of them was our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. After much background, the Prime Minister finally visited Beijing at the start of the month. It was a whirlwind 24 hour visit, with Jacinda heading straight into talks with Premier Li Keqiang to discuss economic relations and the how to move towards the FTA upgrade as soon as possible. She then met with President Xi Jinping, holding high-level talks with him on a number of topics. Finally, she had enough time to open our new $50 million embassy in Beijing. The visit happened in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, which was why it was cut to just one day. However, that the Prime Minister still visited despite the tragic events at home showed just how important the government is taking our relationship with China. This was reiterated by the Prime Minister herself, who hoped that the NZ-China relationship could be taken “to a new height". All in all, a positive trip.
Xi Jinping expressed sympathy to Jacinda for the attack against the Muslim community in Christchurch. However, Muslims in China are having their own problems with the government. In Xinjiang, the Uighurs minority (many of which are Muslim) are subject to punitive mass surveillance from the state. Even worse, more than a million Muslims have been detained in “re-education camps”. Our government’s position on this can be inferred as “concern” at what is happening. The Prime Minister’s visit offered an interesting case study on us acting on this concern while balancing the relationship we have with China, who we need a lot more than they need us. Jacinda raised the issue directly with the Premier and President, but refused to give any details saying “You can’t do much more than that”. And in a sense, that's true, we can't. It’s hard to imagine that anything we say would make China change its actions. All we can do is make our position on the issue clear, as inadequate as that may feel. China is our biggest trading partner, and as is often the case with money, pragmatism wins the day.
Regular readers of our newsletter may notice that we've added a new section to it this month. That's right, the YA is getting into original content baby! No spoilers though - check it out below.
#1. Upcoming Event: Working in China Breakfast
Want to know how professional services can allow you to work abroad? Keen to learn what working in China is really like from other young professionals? Or just want a warm buffet breakfast with a side of networking?
Come and enjoy our breakfast event about what it is like to work in China. We've scheduled it so you can have a good start to the day before you dash off to work or uni! It's a great opportunity for you to hear about working overseas and to meet people interested in the same thing.
Our limited early bird period ends on Friday 26 April! Get in quick as or miss out!
#2. Committee Update: New Committee Members!
We're excited to welcome four new members to our executive committee! Angela and Isabella will be bringing all of their organisational skill to the events team, Sichen will be helping us grow our WeChat presence and you'll be able to read some work from our new Marketing Associate Sherry if you scroll down a little!
They'll all be around at our events as well so if you see them, be sure to say hello!
Read their profiles here.
#3. Business Desk: What Western Marketers Can Learn from China
#4. Culture Desk: Myth of the Model Minority
Myth of the Model Minority is the b-grade, gawdy decored, Dominion-Rd-restaurant-short-film we've always wanted and needed.
Directors Nahyeon Lee and Julie Zhu curated this anthology film by working with 14 different writers and over 40 actors. It aims to reflect the multiplicity of being Asian in Auckland. The short is intelligent, heart-warming and funny and hopes to showcase the storytelling talent of our Asian New Zealand community.
Watch it here.
#5. Community Desk: And Here's an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with the Directors
Time for some original content conveniently related to the previous section! Our new Marketing Associate Sherry Zhang has managed to snag an interview with the directors of Myth of the Model Minority, Julie Zhu and Nahyeon Lee (thanks also to 95bFM).
Firstly, Julie discusses the representation of Asian New Zealanders, and the direction she hopes conversations around migrants and diaspora communities shift to. Then, Nahyeon discusses assimilation, Dominion Road as a safe space for ethnic minorities, and what exactly the “myth of the model minority” is 👀.
Have an idea or opportunity you would like us to offer? Would you like to be part of the Young Associates? Have general questions/comments? Let us know below!
Editors: Han Li, Miji Lee, Sherry Zhang